At this time of year we think about New Year’s resolutions. It is also a good time to start planning your tax affairs before the end of the tax year on 5th April.
An obvious tax planning point would be to maximise your ISA allowances for the 2017/18 tax year (currently £20,000 each).
You might also want to consider increasing your pension savings before 5 April 2018 as the unused annual pension allowance is lost after three years.
For those looking to do some inheritance tax planning it would be a good time to review (or make) your Will in the light of the recent change in the IHT nil rate band.
PENSION PLANNING For most taxpayers the maximum pension contrbution is £40,000 each tax year, although this depends on their earnings. This limit covers both contributions by the individual and their employer.
Note that the unused allowance for a particular tax year may be carried forward for three years and can be added to the relief for the current, but then lapses if unused. Note also that for higher rate taxpayers the net cost of saving £10,000 in a pension is only £6,000 but this higher rate relief may not last for ever.
New inheritance tax rules for passing on the family home started on 6 April 2017. This new relief should be taken into consideration when drafting your Will and we can work with your solicitor to make sure your Will is tax efficient.
From 6 April 2017 an additional nil rate band of £100,000 is now available on death where your residence is left to direct descendants. This is in addition to the normal £325,000 nil rate band and will increase over the next 4 years to £175,000 in 2020. This additional relief is however restricted If your assets exceed £2 million. The rules are fairly complicated but we can review your personal circumstances to ensure that you take advantage of all the relief that you are entitled to.
WHAT ABOUT DOWNSIZING TO A SMALLER PROPERTY?
The new inheritance tax relief for passing on the family home is protected even when you downsize to a smaller property.
For example, if a married couple currently live in a large house worth £500,000 and downsize to a flat worth £250,000 they could give away some of the proceeds during their lifetime and yet still benefit from inheritance tax relief based on the higher valued property. They could even sell up completely and move into a rental property and still get the inheritance tax relief!
CONSIDER MAKING REGULAR GIFTS OUT OF SURPLUS INCOME
Whilst on the subject of inheritance tax planning why not consider setting up a standing order to family members? Such regular gifts can be outside of the scope of inheritance tax provided they are made out of surplus income and not out of capital. It would be necessary to demonstrate that you are left with sufficient income after tax and living expenses to maintain your normal lifestyle. Unlike the £3,000 annual inheritance tax allowance there is no monetary limit for regular gifts out of income, provided the conditions are satisfied.
Again we can review your personal circumstances to see if you are able to take advantage of this tax relief.
Indexation allowance was introduced in the 1970s to provide relief from paying tax on inflationary gains based on increases in RPI. The relief was abolished in 1998 for individuals and trusts, and replaced with taper relief. However, it was retained for companies. The Autumn Budget announced that indexation for corporation tax would cease for disposals from January 2018 onwards, although indexation up to December 2017 would be retained.
Although the change will apply to all chargeable assets owned by companies, it will have a significant impact on property investment companies where indexation allowance acted as a shelter from inflationary gains.